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Editor’s Take: ‘Robbery’ Persists As Long As Current Scoring System Stays

5 months ago By Jhon Woug

The artful and tough sport of boxing is often met with endless controversy, particularly when it comes to determining scores. Boxing News’ recent edition highlights the divergent views surrounding fight scoring, emphasising how the ongoing debate challenges the pursuit of an undisputed answer in a contentious decision-making arena.

Mikaela Mayer feels a sense of injustice, while Natasha Jonas experiences relief, and Maxi Hughes believes he was cheated. These conflicting sentiments arise in the aftermath of George Kambosos’ contested win over Hughes, which has granted him an opportunity to fight Vasyl Lomachenko. This amplifies the difficulty for boxing in navigating through controversial situations.

Prominent bantamweight Jason Moloney joins the many expressing concern over boxing’s 10-point-must system. He believes that its intricate nature repels new fans by making it difficult for the general public to understand how fights are scored and ultimately hinders growth within the sport’s audience.

October’s match between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou had a significant impact. Despite the belief that Ngannou delivered stronger hits, he only managed to knock down his opponent once, leaving many viewers puzzled. The discussion surrounding the judges’ scores sparked concerns of manipulation, which took away from recognising an impressive performance by an underdog player.

Re-evaluating the match without the element of surprise, it becomes evident on the judges’ scorecards that Fury emerged victorious. Nonetheless, in an era where immediate satisfaction is preferred, anticipating fans to watch a fight again for better comprehension of scoring seems impractical, particularly for those who are new to boxing.

The essential issue at hand is the requirement for a complete restructuring of the existing system. If there isn’t significant change, uncertainty and feelings of unjust gains will remain prevalent. In this modern age requiring quick results, transparency in delivering fairness must be prioritised to facilitate advancement within the sports domain. The fundamental rules governing triumph or loss should be straightforward enough for audiences from various backgrounds to comprehend, matching comparable clarity observed across other sports industries’ policies towards visibility in their processes and operations.

At the dawn of boxing, simplicity was crucial. The ultimate winner emerged as the sole survivor, relying solely on endurance. However, with changing societal standards came an increased demand for a more complex methodology. Today’s approach consists of predetermined rounds that are assessed separately by three judges with different perspectives, potentially resulting in discrepancies from those observing from afar.

In contrast to many other sports, boxing is particularly susceptible to the consequences of scoring inconsistencies. A debatable outcome can significantly impede or even ruin an athlete’s career, as evidenced by Jack Catterall’s path after his defeat on points against Josh Taylor in 2019. In boxing, victory and defeat carry a heightened significance that amplifies the influence of flawed assessments.

According to Carl Fail, a super-welterweight boxer, diversity in opinions is an essential aspect of the charm that boxing offers. The subjective nature of this sport adds to its entertainment value since individuals form their own distinct viewpoints. Although it has value for the sport as a whole, there are still calls for change from some quarters.

Open scoring, a suggested adjustment in judging criteria for combat sports competitions, involves the disclosure of judges’ scores after each round or series. Advocates contend that this transparency would provide fighters and audiences with immediate comprehension of the scorecard. Nevertheless, critics are wary that it may influence judges according to audience responses as opposed to objective assessment, which could result in inaccuracies and confusion. Additionally, opponents fear open scoring allows boxers who have thought they have secured victory early on to utilise defensive manoeuvres rather than high-energy offensive battle tactics, thereby diminishing competition suspense until final decision announcement time.

Boxing faces the daunting task of preserving both drama and impartiality, thus striking an equilibrium. The lingering inquiry is how the sport can progress to incorporate transparency while still retaining its distinct suspense before the judges’ verdict.

The age-old question of how to score boxing matches fairly, transparently, and in a way that’s understandable both for hardcore fans and newcomers still plagues the sport. However, there may be hope by implementing open scoring reforms while managing to balance tradition with modern demand from diverse audiences. Nevertheless, until then, accusations of ‘robbery’ will continue to haunt this noble art.

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